POEA Allows ‘EXEMPTIONS’ in OFW Deployment Ban to Ebola-Hit Countries

Philippine labor officials are allowing some exemptions in the ban on the deployment of overseas Filipino workers to countries affected by the Ebola virus disease.

This was contained in the recently approved Resolution 1 of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration Governing Board.

“The ban to these countries where there is the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) stays, but there are exemptions,” said Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, who chairs the POEA Governing Board, in a statement Tuesday.

Under the resolution, the Philippine government maintained the total ban on the deployment of Filipino workers to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

But it will allow the processing and deployment of returning workers of United Nations-related or international non-government or civil society organizations, subject to compliance with relevant requirements.

Signing the resolution aside from Baldoz were Governing Board Vice Chairman and POEA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac; and Governing Board members Estrellita Hizon, Alexander Asuncion, Felix Oca, and Milagros Isabel Cristobal.

In the resolution, the Governing Board cited the Jan. 8, 2015 letter of the Department of Foreign Affairs that recommended the 21-day mandatory quarantine for returning OFWs from the three Ebola Virus Disease-affected countries.

The letter had also recommended the further maintenance of Alert Level 3 status for the three countries.

“In the same letter, the DFA recommended the stay of the ban, but allowing the return to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone of Filipinos working for UN-related organizations, or international non-government/civil society organizations, provided they execute a statement that they are returning to these countries against government advice,” said Baldoz.


Meanwhile, Baldoz said the employers of these workers also need to issue an undertaking that they will be “responsible for the treatment and repatriation of the returning Filipinos in the event they are infected.”

The DOLE noted the POEA Governing Board in 2014 issued Resolution No. 14 on July 4, 2014 imposing a temporary suspension on the processing and deployment of newly hired OFWs to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

It also allows the processing and deployment of vacationing/returning workers there, on account of the spread of EVD.

Last Dec. 8, the POEA Governing Board imposed a total deployment ban for all Filipinos bound for the three countries and instructed Filipinos already there to return to the Philippines.

(Source: Joel Locsin/KBK, GMA News)

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